Manchester United have not scored a goal for three games and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants them to regain their spark. However, an entirely new spark is being ignored despite the need for change.
Amad Diallo was an unused substitute against Crystal Palace – a match crying out for the tricky Ivorian.
Speaking of the players already on the field, the United boss was quick to defend his lack of late changes to the Manchester Evening News.
“Of course, we had Shola (Shoretire) or Amad but which of those five would you take off?” the Norwegian said.
The five in question were an exhausted Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes, a disappointing Marcus Rashford and second-half subs Scott McTominay and Dan James.
And therein lies the problem.
Solskjaer is the right man for the United job. He has transformed them since his arrival. Yet he still lacks the bravery to make big changes.
When Sir Alex Ferguson needed a goal he threw on the likes of Federico Macheda or a fledgling Cristiano Ronaldo. He took risks and, sometimes, those risks paid off.
Diallo is ready for that chance. Yet he sat unusued while United toiled for goals against Palace and Chelsea.
When he did appear, in a Europa League tie wrapped up inside the first 90 minutes, there was no risk involved.
Some would say that is sensible management. But the best bosses are unafraid to take risks when required.
A risk worth taking
Marcus Rashford would never have burst onto the scene if Louis van Gaal didn’t show faith in the teenager when injuries robbed him of more experienced alternatives.
This time it is poor form that sees United slipping. Not from all, but certainly from the forwards tasked with breaking teams down.
Rashford wasn’t good enough last time out, while Anthony Martial has flattered to deceive in the current campaign.
Fernandes is approaching burnout and Donny van de Beek’s injury has come at the worst time.
This should be the moment when Diallo steps forward. Signed for a fee that could rise to £37.2million (BBC), the 18-year-old is the real deal.
He could have sparked a necessary change in United’s latest 0-0 draw and this was a missed opportunity.